I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Not your Nana's Marble Cake

Oh how I love, love, lllooovvveee marble cake. Firstly because it's just yummy and kinda cool that it has more than one flavour in it, and secondly because these days it is considered fairly retro. The only place I know of where one can get marble cakes is at supermarkets, where it's covered in some hideous pink just-add-water icing and it costs less than $4. Of course you can also get it here, but then you knew that, didn't you?

Normally when I make it I just swirl it around to get a cool mixture - so imagine my anal retentive Capricornian delight when I saw that Nicole over at Baking Bites (NB: best baking blog ever!) has made it look like zebra stripes! Oooh! Matching! Lined up! I can combine my OCD tendencies and my cake making in one hit! Perfect!

I have to say upfront that I don't love the recipe. The cake itself is just...meh. Nice but nothing to write home about. My family loved it and told me it was delicious and "not too sweet" but for me it verged on bland. This would, of course, be beacause I've spent the last 30-odd years deadening my sweet taste buds with copious amounts of Sweet n' Low. Try the recipe for yourself. Me? Next time I do this, I'm using my standard Devil's Food Chocolate recipe and/or my Vanilla Bean Butter Cake recipe. The method is pretty easy (although a bit time consuming) but the finished product is well worth it. I also covered mine in ganache, because even though the top is as beautiful as the inside, I loved that cutting into it gave some surprise factor.

I think it would be seriously, seriously cool to top this with white and dark ganache in the same method. I'd have to try it though, as the consistency of them is different, and you'd have to play around with the temperature to keep it from being a chocolatey, messy puddle. An experiment for another day, me thinks!

The method below refers to how I did it and also my minor alterations because I prefer a much higher cake (eg I like the cake tin filled to about 1.5 inches below the edge.)

Zebra Cake
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 8-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan. In a large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until mixture is light and creamy and the sug ar has mostly been dissolved. Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Measure out just over two cups of vanilla batter and place it into a pouring jug. Sift cocoa powder over the bowl and whisk until fully incorporated. Put the chocolate batter into a second pouring jug. Pour some vanilla batter (about 3-4 T) into the center of the pan and let it spread slightly on its own. Pour the chocolate batter in the center of the vanilla (about the same amount). It will push out the other batter and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself. Alternating pours of the two batters, repeat the technique until all the batter has been used up. If you're coordinated enough, put one jug in one hand and one jug in the other and pour alternately- this significantly speeds up the process!

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cake is light gold and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out the cake and remove the parchment paper. Reinvert on to a wire rack and let cool before slicing.

Serves 10.



Cindy said...

Wow, that looks so cool - I think I like the shot of the uncooked batter in concentric circles even more than the finished cake!

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

Hi Cindy,

I couldn't take a picture of the cake sliced open, as it was baked for a client! I could only take a picture (artfully arranged, natch!) of the bits I cut off to make it level. :) So I have to agree with you, the raw batter picture is WAY better!

Thanks for commenting!